Anyone can claim they know how to install a roof, but the proof is in what happens long after the contractors move on. That might explain why some local roofers stay so busy while others can't nail down a customer.
For the Spring-Summer issue of Checkbook Magazine, local consumers weighed in on nearly 50 roofers and rated them based on timeliness, knowledge, quality, overall performance and what they charge.
"The price differences for roofing work are extraordinary," said Checkbook's Kevin Brasler. "Our mystery shoppers collected prices for various roofs."
In one price comparison of 14 quotes, prices ranged from a low of $5,400, to a mid-range of $7,890 to a high of more than $20,000 for essentially the same work on the same house.
Brasler acknowledges that each roofer can do things differently. Brands and types of materials can vary. So can the size of the work crew.
"But those little differences don't account for a $15,000 difference in prices," said Brasler.
So it's critical to shop around.
"Get at least three bids. Don't get estimates, Don't get a hand shake. 'Oh, it'll be around this much.' Get it all in writing. Get every detail that there possibly could be- in writing," Brasler stressed.
And be aware of the common roofing complaints: improper flashing- which leads to leaks, the wrong type or size of roofing nails, substandard materials, and improper installation altogether. If you don't know where to start - talk to friends and neighbors. Checkbook's survey found that some of the best local roofers in the Puget Sound region get their business through word of mouth.
Roofer ratings are available in the current issue of Checkbook Magazine or to online subscribers. The website does have a free guide to finding a good roofer
Before you hire any contractor, make sure they are registered with the state. You can do that at SuspectFraud.com.